– by Gerry & Janine

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6

Today there are 1.2 billion young people between the ages of 15-24 that account for 16% of the global population. Every one of them has the potential to be a leader. That’s why we believe passionately in the leadership development of this generation. They are the future and it’s our responsibility to train and prepare them as forthcoming leaders of this world. Every child’s leadership ability, at whatever level, can be groomed and nurtured.

The little things
Leadership is influence, and therefore anyone who has influence is a leader. Parents, teachers, coaches, and grandparents all play a significant role in a child’s life as they are developed and prepared to become leaders. The beauty of building children into leaders is that it’s the little things we do every day that mould them into the leaders they’ll become. 

Ways to develop leadership skills in young people:

1. Be the kind of leader you want them to become. Your best lesson is your example. A great way for our kids to see our leadership in action is to volunteer together.

2. Show them ways to succeed and empower them. People shy away from leadership tasks because they feel overwhelmed. Show children how to break tasks into workable ways to get the job done. Help them to develop a plan or strategy to address a problem or situation. Allow them to start making small decisions so they can learn the concepts of responsibility and consequences.

3. Help them learn to be good communicators. Communication is the cornerstone of both leadership and relationships. Teach your children to say what they mean and mean what they say. Nurture their communication skills so that they can build relationships and inspire others. An important quality of a leader is the skill of listening – the earlier it is learned, the more intuitive it becomes. Teach your children how to listen carefully and how to respond in a calm and respectful way. Good communication is a great character trait.

4. Emphasise the importance of team work. Teamwork helps them get along with others. It also helps them work and co-operate across differences. Learning to work effectively in a team is one of the most important skills you can model. Group projects and team sport is a good starting point. Give children experiences that teach them about diversity and inclusion. Show them the value of multiple perspectives and the importance of equality.

5. The most important lesson of all is the importance of character! A child who can learn the foundations of trust, honesty, respect, and integrity will be ready for a lifetime of successful leadership. Teach them to accept losses and learn from them. How they accept loss and move forward determines the strength of their character. 

Parents’ greatest responsibility
Leadership skills allow children to have better control of their lives and the ability to make things happen. Leadership instils confidence, and helps children solve problems creatively, work in a team, and work collaboratively with others. Our greatest responsibility as parents is to prepare our children for what the future has in store for them.

Global Leadership Summit
Here at Global Leadership Network we believe that from the age of 12, young people can attend the Global Leadership Summit. A leadership development event with world-class speakers where the focus is on actionable leadership skills, Godly inspiration, encouragement, teamwork, self-leadership, and building personal confidence. Anyone that attends will leave empowered in ways that will stand them in good stead for a life of leadership. For more information please visit our website willowcreeksa.co.za. “Children are great imitators so give them something great to imitate” – Anonymous

Gerry & Janine Couchman are the Regional Director & Co Leaders of the Global Leadership Network SA, an NPO that hosts the Global Leadership Summit each year.

Article source: JOY! Magazine

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